Warroad at Hermantown, Jan. 15 (5:00 PM)

Jayson Shaugabay, Warroad

Lots of focus is on the college football matchup between Alabama and Georgia, but in Class A Boys hockey, this is the rough equivalent. Top-ranked Hermantown vs. No. 2A Warroad as they battle for the top spot in the rankings of what may be a preview of the Class A championship game.  

Warroad is coming off the confidence-building with a hard-fought 3-0 win over No. 9A Detroit Lakes. The Warriors are led up front by junior and Minnesota-Duluth commit Jayson Shaugabay (11-29-40) and senior Daimon Gardner (25-15-40, Clarkson commit) as one of the best duos in the state. 

As if Shaugabay and Gardner were not enough, the Warriors have good scoring depth throughout their top three lines, making them that much tougher to defend.  

On defense, junior Eric Comstock (1-17-18) and senior Carson Reed (5-10-15) help keep the Warriors on the offensive while taking care of business in their own end.  

Between the pipes, junior goaltender Hampton Slukynsky (.939 save percentage) has been rock solid for the Warriors this season.  

Yet if there is any team in the state in Class A or AA that would not be intimidated by Warroad, it is Hermantown. The battle-tested Hawks are coming off a 5-2 win against Class AA Eden Prairie.  

Hermantown is led up front by juniors Kade Kohanski (8-13-21) and Wyatt Carlson (9-4-13), plus sophomores Max Plante (2-19-21) and Dallas Vieau (8-3-11). Vieau had a recent hat trick against Eden Prairie.  

The Hawks' power play is connecting at a 30.6% rate, which is impressive when you consider they are still without their best player Zam Plante who has been injured. Plante could reappear this week, further boosting the Hawks' offense. 

On defense, the Hawks are led by junior and Minnesota-Duluth commit Ty Hanson (6-11-17) and senior Beau Janzig (2-4-6). Sophomore goaltender Dane Callaway (1.25 goals-against-average) has been the Hawks' workhorse in the crease.  

Zam Plante could be back for Hermantown against Warroad.